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Record of Dockings, pp 384- 547, 1923-1925 and later-Dockmaster's records kept by Alfred C Stewart at Mort's Dock

Date: 1923- 1925
Overall: 205 x 150 x 22 mm
Medium: paper, carboard, cloth
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Mrs Conroy
Object Name: Notebook
Object No: ANMS1302[005]

User Terms

    SignificanceKeith M. Murray, 'History of Mort's Dock & Engineering Co. Ltd, monograph 2002. 17 pp 387.15099441 MOR

    Keith Murray, personal communication 2002.

    Vaughan Evans, 'Mort's Dock and Engineering Company, Balmain' in Shipbuilding in Australia, Vol. 1 [record] draft, Sydney, unpublished manuscript, about 1993. 623.8200994 EVA
    HistoryMort's Dock & Engineering Co. Ltd was one of the two most important ship building and repair operations in Sydney for almost a century. Mort's Dock at Waterview Bay Balmain was established in 1854 by Thomas Sutcliffe Mort. The dock was enlarged and the company, was formed in 1872. In 1899 Morts had a new graving dock excavated at Woolwich. By 1917 the company employed 1500 people and occupied 18 acres. It had a 640 foot dry dock, three patent slipways and two floating docks in Johnstone's Bay, Balmain. In 1924 it bought Chapman's Slipway, renamed Chapman's Branch, and in 1925 bought Rowntree's Floating Dock. Well known Sydney pilot boats, the CAPTAIN COOK I, II, and III were built at Mort's, as well as numerous ferries. During World War II the yards at Chapman's, Woolwich and Mort's were fully occupied in servicing merchant ships and in the conversion of ships for war purposes. A series of corvettes were built for the Royal Australian Navy. Mort's languished in subsequent years, was weakened by poor labour relations, and was wound up in 1959.

    Ward's Dock was a wooden floating dock originally in Johnstone's Bay, then bought by Mort's and relocated at Chapman's Branch.

    Three small notebooks record dockings at the Pontoon Dock from 1902 until about 1950, with a separate index to the three. Dates of dockings are given from 1902 until 1925, after which dates are very rarely noted. One ledger refers to Ward's Dock, and another to the Slipway. World War II years are evident from the names of vessels, which include a few naval and US naval vessels, and the Durrenbee, a fishing trawler sunk by a Japanese torpedo in 1942. The loose items are nearly all written on the backs of cut-up sections of an Admiralty Chart, and were obviously meant to last.

    The apparent span of the records, over more than 50 years, gives a sense of the different individuals who filled the position of dockmaster, and a sense of the changing times. The earliest records are neatly written in black ink with red underlining, perhaps suggesting that a clerk in the office transcribed the details, and one book contains a sheet of blotting paper. The later handwriting is much rougher and clumsier, written in indelible pencil, and towards the end in ball point pen, often thick and smeared. However, the detail is as carefully recorded as in the early entries.

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